Accused Fauquier rapist fires lawyers, delays three life sentences
Rodney Carter, 47
Seventeen hours before Rodney Carter was to be sentenced for abducting a woman from downtown Warrenton at knife point in 2011 and raping her, he decided to rescind his guilty plea and fire his lawyers.
Carter, 47, faces three life sentences. In May, he pleaded guilty to rape, forcible sodomy and abduction. On Wednesday morning, he walked into Fauquier County Circuit Court, lifted a hand to the room and sat down while his attorney, Peter Thomas Hansen, asked Judge Herman A. Whisenant Jr. to grant Carter new representation.
Carter felt that his attorneys pressured him into a guilty plea, Hansen said.
Hansen said he did not make the motion lightly. Hansen and Attorney John Clark, who also represented Carter, would have to be questioned as witnesses by another attorney to delve more deeply into why Carter felt pressured to plead guilty.
"It's been at least five or six years since I've been in a similar position," Hansen said.
Commonwealth's Attorney James Fisher rose his voice in response, incredulous at the motion.
"There is a certain patent outrageousness to filing this motion 17 hours before sentencing," Fisher said, noting that Carter had pleaded guilty months ago.
Fisher told Whisenant that Carter has manipulated at least four attorneys, including one public defender and one lawyer who took the case pro bono, all with the intent to delay court proceedings.
"He has now been through a platoon of attorneys to help him in this manner, and we are now two years beyond [the charges against Carter]," Fisher said.
Whisenant granted Carter's request to dismiss his attorneys. The judge appointed Amy Harper to represent him, and said he would consider the motion to rescind Carter's guilty plea on Nov. 15.
"I am not rewarding Mr. Carter in any way and I want that noted for the record," Whisenant said.
However, Whisenant said, he had to take seriously the notion that Carter might have been pressured into a guilty plea.
According to Commonwealth prosecutors, on Aug. 2011, at about 9:30 p.m., Carter ambushed a 20-year-old woman in a parking lot behind a restaurant on Main Street in Warrenton.
He then put a knife to her neck and told her to "do what he said if she wanted to live," according to a proffer statement of accusations read in May.
According to that statement, Carter forced the woman to drive to another municipal lot, where he forced her to perform oral sex.
Then they drove to a second parking lot, where he blindfolded her, made her walk through the Warrenton Cemetery to the basement entrance of his home on Warrenton Boulevard.
There, prosecutors say, Carter raped the woman twice before forcing her to shower in the basement bathroom. After she showered, Carter hugged the woman and told her he was sorry, then blindfolded her again and returned her to her car.
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